Song Lyric Sunday — Late Bloomer

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim is going with a suggestion from Greg at Greg’s Blog to focus on songs that initially failed or were overlooked, but eventually became fan favorites. My choice may surprise you. It’s “Nights in White Satin” by the English rock band The Moody Blues.

“Nights in White Satin” was written and composed by Moody Blues guitarist and lead vocalist Justin Hayward. It was featured as the segment, “The Night,” on the album Days of Future Passed, a concept album based around different times of day. For example, “Dawn Is A Feeling” and “Tuesday Afternoon.” This song was last on the album because it represents nighttime. The album was a fusion of rock with classical music. It established the band as pioneers in the development of art rock and progressive rock. It has been described as a “landmark” and “one of the first successful concept albums.”

The song, which many consider to be the signature song of The Moody Blues, was originally released in 1967 and made it to the number 19 spot in the U.K. But in the U.S., it didn’t even make it into the top 100, peaking at number 103. In the States, six-minute songs were a tough sell for radio play at the time. In 1972, though, with songs like The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla” paving the way for long, dramatic tunes, “Nights in White Satin” was re-released in the U.S. It finally became a hit, going to number 2 and sending sales of the reissued album skyward.

Hayward wrote and composed the song when he was 19. It was titled after a girlfriend who gave him a gift of satin bedsheets. The song is a tale of a yearning love from afar, a case of unrequited love. Hayward said of the song, “It was a series of random thoughts and was quite autobiographical. It was a very emotional time as I was at the end of one big love affair and the start of another. A lot of that came out in the song.” He added, “Every note, every word in it means something to me and I found that a lot of other people have felt that very same way about it.”

Interesting factoid: The Moody Blues recorded the album with The London Festival Orchestra, which never actually existed. It was the name given to the musicians put together to make the Days of Future Passed album. The orchestral parts were performed separately and edited between and around the Moody Blues parts, so the orchestra did not actually accompany the group during the song’s recording.

Here are the lyrics to “Nights in White Satin.”

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I've written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say any more

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Just what I'm going through they can't understand
Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be, you will be in the end

And I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I've written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I've always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say any more

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

24 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Late Bloomer

  1. Clive August 28, 2022 / 3:22 am

    A long time favourite of mine. I was a huge fan of the band and had all of their albums. Good to see that the US eventually caught up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bushboy August 28, 2022 / 3:31 am

    You are good at picking my favourite songs Fandango 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nope, Not Pam August 28, 2022 / 3:57 am

    Wow, such a famous song, I’m really surprised at the back history

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marleen August 28, 2022 / 5:10 am

    I am surprised; you’re right, I, for one, did not know it wasn’t favored in the US the first time round. But the reason makes sense — for this country as run by the music industry. I loved this album from the first time I heard it. I don’t know how many years later, my cousin had it (because her dad had left it behind); I don’t think she listened to it. I traded to receive it in exchange for a stereo receiver, turntable, speakers, etc. I knew I was soon to be given a newer hand-me-down set from my parents (dad really). I actually considered composing music because of this album. I did compose a little in my head as I was going to sleep. With more “tools” — especially if writing down music — it might’ve gone beyond that. However, I had piano lessons with exercses in musical notation years later yet, and I didn’t try to get anything like that done. It sure is interesting how the orchestra was put together.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. newepicauthor August 28, 2022 / 7:27 am

    Oh, how I love this song. Nice choice Fandango. Hayward was living in a two-room flat in Bayswater with Graeme Edge, the Moody Blues drummer and their girlfriends. Hayward said that when he wrote ‘Nights In White Satin’ that he didn’t own many things in the world, but he did have this totally useless set of white satin sheets that an old girlfriend of his had given him. He thought that they were impractical, but they looked quite nice, and they were quite romantic. He had ended things with her and he had a new woman in his life. The song is thought to be a tale of a yearning love from afar, telling a story of unrequited love endured by Hayward, as he was caught between ecstasy and despair, ruing the end of one love affair while embarking on another.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango August 28, 2022 / 11:45 am

          That was their first single, I think.

          Like

          • pensitivity101 August 28, 2022 / 11:51 am

            Yes, I believe so. I bought all of the albums but don’t have any at all now, just a CD copy of Blue Jays which was Justin Hayward and John Lodge.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Fandango August 28, 2022 / 12:09 pm

              I have that Hayward/Lodge album. Or I did. I burned it onto my iTunes library on my iPhone.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. ghostmmnc August 28, 2022 / 11:43 am

    What a great song! I like the lyrics, but hadn’t paid much attention to them before. Mostly, to me it’s the eerie music and ethereal moaning that gives me the chills. Kinda scary! Love it, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 September 3, 2022 / 3:41 pm

    Always liked this song… love the poem that is included in the extended cut. I go to YouTube on a fairly regular basis to hear it. I should just buy the song and play it whenever I want but, don’t know that I know much more on the album. Excellent choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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